Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’d like to thank RJ for hosting me today!

Competition

All commenters on this post will be entered into a draw to win a copy of an ebook from my backlist – winner’s choice. As I’ll be making the draw on Tuesday 11th (round about lunchtime, GMT) this will also include my upcoming release It’s All Geek to Me. :)
Behind the excerpt

I have to say, when RJ asked for the most romantic excerpt I could think of from one of my books, I thought it was going to be a difficult choice. I write about British men, you see, and they tend to be a bit understated with all the emotional stuff.

Then I remembered Muscling Through. For those who don’t know it, the story is an opposites-attract romance between Larry, a Cambridge University don from a privileged background; and Al, a big, muscular guy from the wrong side of the tracks, with a minimal education. The first time they meet, Larry’s terrified Al is about to mug him or worse—but Al just takes care of Larry instead, and they end up in a relationship.

In this excerpt, Larry’s just introduced Al to his family:

Excerpt - Muscling Through

Larry’s mum and dad went home straight after dinner, but his sister stayed so she could have a row with Larry. They did it in the kitchen, and I was in the living room, so I couldn’t hear much. They weren’t shouting like my mum and stepdad used to, but sometimes I heard bits. I heard a couple of words like “taking advantage” and “just using” and I worried she’d make Larry think he couldn’t trust me, but he argued back, so I guess he didn’t agree with her.

Then she said, “You can’t possibly love him,” and I didn’t want to hear no more, so I turned on the TV and watched some program. I don’t remember what it was about.

When they came out of the kitchen, Larry and his sister weren’t talking anymore. She had this sort of tight look on her face, and Larry looked all sad. After she left, I put my arms round him and just held him. I knew he’d tell me about it if he wanted to.

He sniffed. “I just wish they’d accept that we’re happy. You’re happy with me, aren’t you?”

I said “Yeah,” ’cause although I wasn’t feeling happy right then, most of the time he makes me happier than I’ve ever been in my life.

“I don’t see what the hell our living arrangements have to do with them,” Larry said.

“I could move out if it’d make it easier,” I said, but I didn’t want to. I just didn’t like seeing Larry sad.

“No! No, you’re staying here,” Larry said. I got that. He’s a grown man; he don’t want his family to push him around and run his life. Sometimes you got to make a stand on something, even when the thing itself isn’t that important. It’s like the difference between paintings and photos—it’s what you don’t see in the photo that matters.

But I kind of wished it was the photo that was real this time.

We went to bed, and I fucked him extra gentle, and afterward, he cuddled up and said, “You know why I’m with you, don’t you, Al?”

’Cause my head was still full of the paintings and the photos and which one was the truth, I didn’t really think before I answered. “You like the way I fuck you,” I said. I mean, I didn’t say it nasty or nothing; it just came out.

I knew I’d said something wrong straight away when he sat up in bed and looked at me like he did the night we met. “Is that what you really think?” he asked.

I didn’t say nothing, ’cause I was worried I’d make it worse.

“Al? Is that all it is for you? You just like the way we…fuck?” I was going to say, he said “fuck” like it’s a dirty word, but I guess it is, isn’t it? But he said it like that anyhow.

But the question was okay; I could answer that. “I like everything about you, Larry. I like the way you look and how you’re so clever, and I like it when we laugh together and watch TV together. I like going to art galleries with you and hearing you get all bitchy about some of the artists. I like watching you when you’re doing marking, ’cause you get these funny looks on your face. I like watching you sleep and hearing that snuffly noise you make. I like waking up with you at weekends and spending the day together, just doing stuff like walking round town and shopping and cooking and stuff.” I kind of ran out of breath after that.

For a moment, I thought he was going to cry. “Is there anything you don’t like about me?”

I had to think. “Well, it pisses me off a bit when you finish up the milk and don’t say nothing.”

Then he was laughing, but he still looked a bit weepy. “Al. Listen to me. I love you, okay?”

“Okay,” I said, and I put my arms around him and pulled him back down against me.


Buy Links

Muscling Through is available in ebook: Samhain | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

Contact JL

You can find more details about my books on my website: www.jlmerrow.com


64 comments:

  1. I loved "Muscling Through" they were such opposites but when they came together it was beautiful a great book.

    ShirleyAnn@speakman40.freeserve.co.uk

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    1. Thank you! I loved writing Al and Larry's story. :)

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  2. Muscling Through Is my favorite of all your books because it was the first book of yours I have read, and introduced me to a wonderful writer. I am glad you chose this excerpt. After reading it I want to read Muscling Through again.

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    1. Aw, thank you! I don't think an author is supposed to have favourites amongst their own books (a bit like having a favourite child *g*) but if I did have favourites, Muscling Through would definitely be one of them! So glad you enjoyed it - and feel free to re-read! Get your money's worth! ;)

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  3. I LOVED Muscling Through and I can't wait to read Geek.

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    1. Thanks - I hope you'll enjoy Geek! :)

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  4. I haven't read this one! I'll have to fix that. OMG this excerpt was so awesome! *sniff* Loved it.

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  5. I Liked "Muscling Through" very much. It would have been so much more fun if I had read it before visiting Cambridge a few years ago :-)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it! And I always think Cambridge is worth another visit. ;)

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  6. I just love Al and Larry. I just lived how honest Al was. It didn't even occur to him to be dishonest. He was such a refreshing character. This book was pure gold and I reread it often. Its ine of my favorite books.

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    1. Aw, thank you - that's a huge compliment. :D

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  7. This is one of the few of your books that I have not read yet, and I would love the opportunity to correct that by winning!

    skadlec1@yahoo.com

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  8. I really enjoyed your books Pressure Head and Muscling Through. Really looking forward to your new one Its All Geek To Me. Thanks for the chance at winning a copy.

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    1. Oops - here's the email: lgrant1@san.rr.com

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    2. Glad you've enjoyed my books! :D

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  9. Love Al and Larry! I got It's all Geek to read yet, looking forward to it!

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    1. Hope you'll like Jez and Rhys just as much! :)

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  10. Never read anything by J Merrow before but this sounds awesome. Please include me in the giveaway. Thank you. :)

    marsh10@netzero.com

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    1. Thanks! If you'd like a chance to try some of my writing, I've got some free reads here: http://jlmerrow.com/free-reads/

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  11. I'm definitely going to have together this one, I don't know how I missed it.

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  12. Muscling Through is still my favourite, too. I just love the way you managed to convey Al's thought processes and let us see what was happening through his point of view, almost like "through a glass, darkly". We know what he thinks is happening, but we can also interpret how Larry sees things too. But you are certainly producing lots of competition for MT!

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    1. Thank you, Helena! Writing Al was a challenge, but I think that's why I enjoyed writing him so much. Glad you enjoyed! :D

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  13. I have Muscling Through and need to read it next. ;-) I think I'm missing out!

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  14. I have a "stack" of your books and have been impatiently waiting for It's All Geek To Me. :)
    aelnova@aol.com

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Hope you'll enjoy Geek - and at least you won't have to wait too much longer for Relief Valve, if that's on your tbr list too. :)

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  15. Really liked this one! And I'm looking forward to It's All Geek to Me :-) Thank you for the chance to win!

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    1. Ops, forgot the email addy: stormymonday @ gmx (dot) net

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    2. Thank you - and I hope you enjoy Geek! :D

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  16. Count me in please. I need to know more about Larry and Al, they sound like a great couple.

    ocanana @ gmail .com

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    1. Don't tell all the other characters, but Larry and Al are two of my favourites! ;)
      Good luck in the draw!

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  17. I have not read Muscling Through yet, but have enjoyed other of your books. Thanks for the giveaway!

    jen.f {at} mac {dot} com

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    1. You're welcome! Good luck in the draw. :)

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  18. I love Muscling through I reread it when I get the chance to!!

    Deborah H
    deborahhansen52@yahoo.com

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  19. What a great excerpt. It left me with a smile.
    Debby236 at gmail dot com

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  20. I thought I already had this one, but I see I don't - will have to correct that! Love Pressure Head and many others of yours - keep up the good work :)
    Mary at ferretrescue dot com

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    1. Aw, thank you! Although if you're ACTUALLY rescuing ferrets, I'd say you're doing more good work than I am! ;)

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  21. I had forgotten this scene! Time to do a re-read.
    Andrea
    andreams2013@gmail.com

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  22. I really NEED to read this one.
    All the best Pippii/Annette

    awbjoern@stofanet.dk

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  23. Oh my gosh, yes. That is hella romantic. So sweet!

    ashley.vanburen[at]gmail[dot]com

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  24. Muscling Through was a fun and funny book. Thanks for the giveaway!
    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're welcome - and I'm glad you enjoyed Muscling Through! :)

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  25. I loved this excerpt! I will definitely be picking up this book.
    lisaguertin at yahoo.com

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    1. Aw, thank you! Hope you enjoy it! :D

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  26. SherryF from the Midwest.....okay, I've waffled back and forth about "Muscling Through" for a long time now but the romantic excerpt here convinced me. Really, what can you say except....awwww!

    Am looking forward to "Relief Valve" too......thank you for your writing efforts!

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    1. Thanks so much, Sherry! And guess what - your number came up in the draw!
      Congratulations! :D

      As I don't have your email, could you get in touch with me re your prize by the end of the week?
      I'm on jl(dot)merrow(at)gmail(dot)com

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    2. SherryF from the Midwest.....oh wow, thanks!!! Will send to you right now! (18:09 Central time USA)

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    3. SherryF from the Midwest (pink) again.....I just sent the email to you and it looks like it's the middle of the night there. I will review on Goodreads and will make mention that I won it and where!

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  27. Sounds like a great book. Will be reading this one.

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  28. This looks like a good book. I've read a few of hers and can't wait to read more.

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